tv The Civil War Reconstruction Race Andrew Johnson CSPAN June 3, 2018 8:50am-10:00am EDT
history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> next, historian alan gill zone talks about his book reconstruction, a concise history. he argues that despite the ratification of the 14th and 15th amendments, the failed totion period solidify the promise of african-american equality in part due to the poor leadership of president andrew johnson. the midtown scholar bookstore and national civil war museum in harrisburg, pennsylvania cohosted this events. it's a little over an hour. >> thank you for cosponsoring with us and allowing us to cosponsor this event. thank you for the plug of the book, i very much appreciate that. of here on behalf represented the national civil war museum. in the former chair of the national civil war museum, which
is here in the city and the mission of the museum is to serve as a national center to inspire lifelong learning of the american civil war to the preservation of artifactsnd documentation related to the war as well as the american people's struggles for survival and healing. the intriguing thing, one of the many intriguing things about the 24,000is there are over printed items and 3500 artifacts of the war that we incorporate and sell the trashy horror of slavery. items from each and 61 through 1865 as well as the postwar items that tell the story of the american people struggle. each item tells a personal story of individuals but they all function as one of the pieces of the tapestry of a tremendous struggle that this nation went through. we believe it's very much a positive to the city on the museum.
that would give the museum is the centerpiece of a revitalized reservoir park. broadcasting and radio and television and now online and in social media for more than 36 years. in outlook that all -- you don't look that old at all. with lamarr acting as executive producer, smart talk has won the pennsylvania associated press broadcast awards every year since it debuted in october 2008. dozen one more than a
associated press broadcast awards since 2000 and has been nominated for five mid-atlantic emmy awards. scott this evening will be interviewing a investor of the civil war era and director civil war era study the gettysburg college and his three-time winner of the lincoln prize, which is incredible. the author of abraham lincoln redeemer president, lincoln's emancipation proclamation, the end of slavery in america, lincoln a short introduction, and a new history of the civil war and reconstruction and one of my personal favorite books on gettysburg, the last invasion, which won the guggenheim prize in military history. welcome scott and alan. >> reconstruction right from the very beginning of the book, you called reconstruction the ugly duckling of american history. why?
>> because it is. the era in american history that we like least to talk about partly is because reconstruction is regarded so widely as a failure. and we don't want to talk about failures. it also has the misfortune, so to speak, of coming as a trough two very high ridges in american history. on the other side of reconstruction was a gilded age. gilded age is probably not something we are quite is dedicated to as the civil war. it has a very more modeling to it. nevertheless, it is identifiable. and we can talk about characters in a gilded age as though they really had some designed and some sparkle. as the they are
sometimes work, crooks, at least they were crooks on a grand scale. the reconstruction. reconstruction seems to be a tail of missed opportunities. failured adventures, of of vision and especially of a piece that was lost after a war won, edit piece that have been lost with dramatic and painful consequences for the people who were the most memorable. and that were the newly freed slaves. we have for about four years of blood and treasure to bring the union back together to justify our system of government and to abolish what really was a birth defect of the united states, which was slavery.
and after having done all that, we stand the next 12 years absolutely botching every way of implementing that victory. and when the soldiers walked away and the politicians walked and writers walked way from reconstruction, it was not something we enjoyed talking about and we have not enjoyed talking about ever since. it's a little bit like that relatively we all know and when we have family get-togethers at thanksgiving or christmas or whatever holidays, we get family together. it's always the relative that everyone knows about but nobody wants to talk about. and that's what reconstruction is in american history. one of the most fascinating one off the book -- >> the most fastening parts of the book, you said it was a lost opportunity, it's that lost
opportunity, it's even being felt today. 150 years later, you mentioned a lost opportunity for racing slavery and racial inequities. talk about that. at the end of the civil war, we suddenly had a population of 3.9 million human beings who have been slaves and who, thanks to the war and the emancipation proclamation and the 13th amendment were no longer slaves. but what were they? to be a non-slave is to be in a negative category. but did not being a slave anymore convey anything beyond that? that was going to be the great question. we didn't come up an answer that in a particularly graceful or effective or complete way.
part of the reason we didn't is because we weren't entirely sure how to go about it. there was no midtown scholars bookstore at 1865, where someone could go and buy a copy of reconstruction for dummies. which would have templates. this is how you do it. it's not like, well, it's not like the navigation system in my car. a thick book, which is supposed to walk you through all the steps of getting from place-to-place. it was nothing like that. there had been reconstructions after civil wars in the past. but they didn't offer us a whole lot in the way of direction. i mean, at one extreme there were civil wars that had ended by the law of conquest. and the law of conquest meant that you took the people who lost and you executed them. then there were civil wars that were ended with leniency. such as caesar ending the roman civil wars. he did it with
leniency all right and look what it got him. then there were the english civil wars. there were the religious wars, which were civil wars in france and other places in europe. in he 1500s, and they offered varying ways of coming at this business of ending a war and reconstructing a nation. and none of them, none of them, looked particularly attractive. so here we are confronted with this question of reconstruction, and from the very beginning, we were dogged by a number of questions we really weren't sure how to answer. one of them was, what is the status of the freed slave? another, connected with that is, what is the status of the former confederate states? are they in the union? or are they out of the union? abraham lincoln always insisted they were in the union whether they liked it or not, and the reason he said that was not so much because he loved having
them there, but because he had always insisted that cessation was a legal and constitutional possibility. then you couldn't leave. you were still a state. and how were you going to be treated then? so questions like this cluster around the business of what to do with the end of the war, and we don't have a lot of ready made answers in front of us. the people who did think they had ready made answers stepped forward and then often had those answers blow up in their faces. do with the end of the war, and >> in the book, you say abraham lincoln actually had been planning for reconstruction as far back as 1863, even though, as you also mentioned, lincoln, when he used the word reconstruction, which was rare, that, there were always some describing words. for some reason he didn't like the word
reconstruction. maybe it had something to do with what you just explained. but when lincoln was sas natured, andrew jackson, vice president, becomes president. lincoln had in mind what econstruction probably would have looked like. andrew johnson, not so much. how much of a key was it to this lost path to reconstruction that lincoln wasn't there to enact it, and it was andrew johnson? >> well, scott, i don't think there is any question that's asked me more often than what would have happened if lincoln had lived? and, of course, there is no real way to know that because lincoln, as a person and as a politician, always tended to play his cards very close to the chest. he was a very reticent, shut mouthed man, as his friend david davis described him and he was like that on personal matters and he was like that on political matters, and he certainly was like that on reconstruction. he didn't like to bind himself too
securely to what might turn out to be a millstone. he wanted to be free to experiment, and he > in the book, you say abraham did try to experiment with various approaches, to reintegrating the southern states back into the union. he tried that in north carolina. he tried it in arkansas. he tried it in louisiana. actually, setting up governments. >> actually setting up renewed governments there. that would gree to eliminate slavery, and move forward to reintegrating move forward to reintegrating these states into the union. >> but in most of those cases, the results became a proffer on the personalities he had to rely upon which were not always sterling personalities. in north carolina, for example, union forces occupied the outer banks of north carolina early in the war. pushed inland, and thought they had conquered
enough north carolina territory to justify setting up of a unionist state government. well, to that position, as military governor of this union state government lincoln appoints -- stanley. a mistake. stanley turns out to be much ore interested in ingratiating himself with the north carolina population than he is in carrying out lincoln's initiatives. and that's especially true on the subject of emancipation. they come to a disagreement. stanley resigns, lincoln doesn't appoint a replacement. in louisiana he keeps trying to find people who will implement a settlement in louisiana. he keeps offering letters of advice. he keeps routinely being ignored. arkansas probably offered him the best way forward but that was also a fairly small scaled project. so time and again lincoln has plans and expectations about reconstruction, and circumstances defeat them.
would he have been more successful if he had lived beyond april 15, 1865? did try to experiment with that's an interesting question. we often assume that the answer to the question, what would have happened, had lincoln had lived? would be something more triumphant and the truth is, it's hard to imagine how could you have done worse than andrew johnson. but even so, there were limitations which might have stymied even an abraham lincoln, one of which, quite clearly, was time. lincoln is sworn into office for his seconderm on march 4, 1865. that means he'll only be in office until 1869. that's not a whole lot of time in which to push forward a reconstruction. if he had observed the general rule of two terms, then he would have left offers in the spring of 1869, and reconstruction might still have only been in rights infancy. so we might not have had an answer at all, if lincoln had lived. >> i have to tell you in
reading the book, you know, during during is often ranked as one of the worst u.s. presidents. you often hear behind his name was impeached, fell short of a conviction by one vote. but you really learn a lot about the mistakes that andrew johnson made, and he had republican legislature, and he vetoed bill after bill after bill that, the vetoes were overruled. andrew johnson was in some respects a mistake from the start, because no one ever expected him to be president. why was he in the vice presidency to begin with? he was selected as lincoln's running mate for the 1864 campaign because in 1864, the leadership of the republican party decided that they wanted to demonstrate that they were a coalition, that they were a big
ent, who was willing to take in sympathetic patriotic democrats, that was not going to take a hard hand at the south, so that southern states, the confederacy, could sit up, take notice, it may not be a bad idea if we decided to quit now. in other words, johnson was going to be a token that a peaceful resolution to the civil war was in view, and that lincoln's republican party was not going to behave like, let us say, the restoration of charles ii after the english civil wars, where he would chop off everybody's head and you hang people and do nasty things like that. anything that could bring the conclusion of the war a little bit closer that would entice
the confederates to stop the bloodshed, that was looked upon as one of the prime goals. so, hannibal, who had been lincoln's vice president for the first term is dropped with a nice little thank you, and in his place is substituted andrew johnson. johnson is, in some respects, if you had met him for the first time, you would think you were looking at a second version of abraham lincoln. because here was someone who had start out poor, who had worked his way up, he had been a taylor's apprentice, he gets involved in politics, he gets elected mayor of his town, he gets elected governor of tennessee, then he gets elected to the united states senate. and he's a loyal unionist. when the southern states secede in 1861, johnson's own state of tennessee, he refuses to
recognize it. he defies the successionists. when tennessee is reoccupied by federal forces lincoln appoints johnson at military governor of tennessee and johnson's service s military governor of tennessee is really one of the few successes along that line that lincoln can boast. so choosing johnson to be his running mate in 1864 seemed like the perfectly logical thing until it turned out that it wasn't the perfectly logical thing. they started to see signs of this very early on. few successes along that line that lincoln can boast. so choosing johnson to be hisste wrote to lincoln and said die really have to come for your inauguration? that really was not the johnson shows up for his inauguration, fir question he wanted to be asking. and, of course, he was told, you have to be here. so there he is, on the fourth of march, 1896, he shows up, and he has a cold -- 1865, he has a cold. he's been self-medicating imself with whiskey.
e's sworn into office in the senate chamber, and delivers a long rambling address that makes it very clear from the start that the man is drunk. it's so bad, that hannibal hamlin sitting behind him has to tug on the coattails to say ou're done. you're done. going out on to the portico, the capitol to be sworn in himself, lincoln says to the master of ceremonies, don't let johnson speak outside. and several weeks later, when lincoln is in richmond, as the confederacy is collapsing in on itself, he's asked whether it would wouldn't be an interesting idea for johnson to come down to johnson and he and lincoln meet together and have a talk there and lincoln says, no, i don't think so. this johnson, he says this johnson,
isstrange man. no one expected andrew johnson to be president. that's not why he was put on the ticket. but there on april 15, 1865, there he is, the 17th president of the united states. and at first, people think that they have the man they really want. because here, after all, was a man who was a loyal unionist. and here's someone they could expect to take a hard hand to these vile successionist traitors, and for about six eeks that's what johnson looks like. until the 29th of may, 1865, when he began issuing his first amnesties, and begins to 1865, when he began issuing his first amnesties, and begins to issue proclamations setting up new statement governments in the defeated confederacy. >> explain why he had to
deliver those amnesties becaus pa othe defeat itself was, only certain people were allowed to serve in these governments. >> that's right. because here you have the defeated states of the confederacy. if you're operating on lincoln's logic which johnson thought he was that these are states which have never left the union, never left it because succession is a legal and constitutional impossibility, well, then, next thing that these states should do is set up new state governments, write new state constitutions, and send representatives and senators to washington. just ike good upstanding states
ought to do. well, they did that on the basis of his proclamations. he authorized them to meet, write new state constitutions and they did that. the first thing they did in the process was then to turn around and elect as the new epresentatives and senators 13 ex-confederate generals and the former vice president of the confederacy. in other words, they turned around and put right back into place the same political leadership that had taken them into the war. you can imagine what joy republicans who had just gone through four years of civil war, greet the prospect of now sitting in congress with people who only weeks and months before, had been trying to wreck the nation. that did not go down terribly well. and what was worse what was worse, was the abolition of slavery also goes the abolition of the 3/5ths clause. you remember the clause in the constitution the southern states wanted to count
their slaves towards representation in congress. it would swell the number of representatives they had there, and the members of the constitutional convention folded their arms and said nothing doing. at which point they had to come to a compromise because what you see, southerners wanted to count five fifths of their slaves toward representation in congress. the compromise they got, no, only 3/5ths. now, slavery has been abolished so there goes the 3/5ths clause. no need for that anymore. that minutes all the black populations of the confederate states can now be counted as five fifths and increase the representation of the southern states in congress, but without giving a single one of those black people the vote. that meant consider this prospect. that meant that the former confederate states would not only be coming back into the union, with the same political leadership they had before but they would be coming back with increased representative clout in congress. they would have more representatives in congress than they had before. that's going to threaten the republican majority in congress, and that means that with this added cloud, these representatives can come back into congress and they can do ll kinds of things, repeal the
epublican war time legislation about national banking, about the specific railroad, about tariffs, in fact, they could even with this added political heft, they could even vote to ssume the confederate war debt so if you're a northern taxpayer, who has been paying taxes to suppress this rebellion, guess what? you now face the prospect of paying for the confederacy's war debt. the war debt the confederates racked up trying to destroy the
union? you, as a union taxpayer, get start paying that all of that seems to be perfectly possible under johnson's proclamations, because johnson thought, we'll be doing this as quickly as we can. now, at that point, republican members of congress might have objected. there is only one problem. congress wasn't in session. the new congress, the 39th congress, wasn't assembled until december 1865. so johnson actually has a fairly long breathing spell with which to get all of these plans to get up and running. it's not until the week before congress convenes that republicans caucus together and determine that they aren't going to put up with this. the first thing they do is they agree that the new representatives from the southern states will not be seated. the clerk of the house of representatives will not seat them. because, of course, congress has the power to determine who will sit in its own ranks. that's the first thing. the second thing, a civil rights bill to infranchise the black voters of the south. we're going to turn hings around completely. and
then, by march of 1867, a series of reconstruction acts, which will entirely restructure the way that the state governments of the south are going to operate. so this is the republican response in congress to the threat that's posed here, and what does andrew johnson do in the face of it? every single one of those measures that they pass, he vetoes, civil rights bill, vetoes it. a bill to extend the freed man's bureau which provided aid and assistance for the freed slaves, vetoes it. you nail it, he starts to veto it. if it crawls he vetoes it. at first, congress is not used to this. hey are not used to overriding vetoes. vetoes. but then they start to sense that if they don't do something, if they don't stand up to johnson, all is lost.
so they override, they override vetoes, and then beyond vetoes, they think, we can't take the chance even of legislation, because we can pass a statute, he can veto it, we can override the veto but it's still just a statute. statute. what happens in the next congress? the next congress could repeal a statute that we repeal in this congress. there are certain things we're going to have to set in concrete and the only way to do that is to amend the constitution. and it's from that, that we see the 14th and then the 15th amendments emerge. johnson wants to fight them. the more he fights them the more ridiculous he looks because however johnson might have wanted to pass himself off as a second lincoln, all you had to do was watch andrew johnson in public. especially after that drunken inaugural, and johnson would often self-des instruct himself. speaking in puicas not his long suit.
he went on what he called a swim around the circumstance. this was supposed to be a visit to the city of chicago but what it really was, was to try to gin up votes sympathetic to himself. he makes an idiot of himself from start to finish, and by the end of it, people are openly heckling him, and etting his dander is not difficult to do, and he obliges them with one foolish comment after another, and in the end, andrew johnson really torpedos is own ship. >> you mentioned the courts. the 14th and 15th amendments. he roll of the supreme court
and federal courts is probably one of the least known aspects of reconstruction, but it played a big role. again, if we -- we go back to the impact being felt even today. the chief justice of the united states during did civil war, this was the man who was the author of the >> the responsibility is chief justice to me was that the and federal courts is probably judiciary -- we think as we are taught in civics class or government class, we are taught that in the american constitutional system, there are three branches. executive, the judicial, legislative and there are checks and balances and these three operate with a separate powers. they operate in a balanced fashion. we wish. too often, the cases been that the executive multihead or the legislative bolts ahead, but in 1860, the executive and legislative had not been too good at dealing with the assuaged -- the dred scott
decision, they lurched ahead, and the judiciary will solve the issue. it does not solve it at all, but that was is you. the civil war sends -- once lincoln gnores on the subject of habeas corpus, the supreme habeas corpus, the supreme court really does not have a tremendous amount to do during the war. there are important war sends -- once lincoln ases that are heard, but for ll practical purposes, the supreme court is comparatively
silent. once the war is over, and also, by the way, once obert hollie is dead in 1854 -- once robert tawney is dead in 1864, the supreme court launches right to back on it's a primacy. lincoln's treasurer, he was a piece of work. so much o, someone made a comment that salmon chase suffered from defective theology. he thought there was a fourth person in the trinity. [laughter] > when the war ends, chase goes right back to the idea of
the supreme court having the last say in governmental affairs. he does it right away in 1866, and he does it in the chase court and the chase subsequent -- the court subsequent to chase for it the -- we are to interpret how they are to be implemented. in a parade he of cases beginning with the laughterhouse cases in the 1870's, running up through u.s. versus cruickshank, and civil rights cases, what the supreme court does is neuter what the 14th and 15 amendments were intended to do. neutering what the 14th and 15 amendments did for reconstruction. they were the living, beating heart of what reconstruction should have
been. the supreme court cases, in the name of asserting judicial importance, effectively take reconstruction and hold it up in the air by the throat until it isaphyxiates. one way they did that is giving states the power over their implementing the 14th and 15th amendments. >> the 14th amendment is something of a grab bag amendment because it has five sections. they address entirely different questions. the most important part of the 14th amendment today is the first section which talks about citizenship and the privileges and immunities of citizenship. strange as that is to say this, up until the civil war, there had never been a clear definition of what citizenship was. the constitution talks
about citizenship and five places. -- in five places. three of those places talk about citizenship in the united states. the president has to be a natural born citizen of the united states, but in other cases, it talks about citizens of the states, implying that there is a kind of dual track citizenship. citizenship of the united states and of the states. constitution does not define their relationship so for a long time, people are puzzled over exactly what citizenship is supposed to be. the 14th amendment is going to settle that. 14th amendment to says that citizenship is based on where you are born, on what is called the sus solas. roger tawney and dred scott tried to determine citizenship based on
born and blood. he was appealing. they go out the window with the 14th amendment. 14th amendment categorically says that there is a itizenship of the united states based on those who are orn in the united states. this means that those 3.9 million slaves who were born and the united states are by the 14th amendment and by virtue, they are citizens of the united states and therefore enjoy all of the privileges and immunities. you might think that would settle the matter, states and therefore enjoy all not with crookshank, and was those two cases, the supreme
court revives this idea of dual track citizenship. this is what the citizenship of united states does and this is what the citizenship of the state does. the citizenship of the tates is what determines who ets to vote. well, that of effectively delivers into the hands of former confederate states the power to determine who was going to have voting rights. you can be very sure that in their minds, what that meant was no black people. unfortunately, labels sanction is given to that end there is a unfortunately, labels sanction
bright line you can draw from slaughterhouse and cruickshank all the way to plessy versus ferguson. >> those decisions indirectly lead to all of the years of discrimination, violence, everything that occurs in the south up until a civil rights era. >> that's right. it makes it very difficult in the civil rights era because you have the standing supreme court opinions on important questions like that. a great deal of the advances in terms of civil rights in the 1950's, 1960's, have to be done through other provisions of the constitution. like the commerce clause. because it has closed off those possibilities. >> you do write a bet there were four positives, what were hey -- you do right that there
were four positives, what were they? >> this sounds like a quiz on my own book. [laughter] >> one thing done right during reconstruction is that we did pass the 14th and 15th amendments. the 14th amendment especially about citizenship because that stands there -- you cannot go back to dred scott. you cannot deprive black people r people of any other color or race or religion or ethnicity or language, you cannot the pride of them of citizenship on the basis that they are born in the united states, they are race or religion or ethnicity born on the soil, they are citizens of the united states. the 15th amendment likewise, for bidding on a federal level, any distinction on the basis of color for voting rights. those
are breakwaters, constitutional breakwaters which are not going to be washed away. they can be gone around and they do manage to go around, but they cannot be washed away. there are also other extraordinary accomplishments of reconstruction. whatever else we did wrong, we did one thing right and that is that we did not do a bloody mess of it. we did not inaugurate judicial killings that you have seen in the wake of other kind of civil war is a. -- of civil wars. the blood that was shed to was actually shed by the victors rather than the vanquished. we did not hang confederate leadership and we did not take robert e. lee or jefferson davis and hang them. we did not indulge in that kind of public vindictiveness and it is well
that we did not to because what hat may have generated would have been an ongoing sea of insurgencies that would have made the civil war look like a have been an ongoing sea of prelude. think what might have happened if for instance, after appomattox, fif lee had not been given the terms he had been given of parole -- if lee ad been offered anything but that, he could've easily with one word and said, boys, head to the hills. fight it out from there and that could have dragged out reconstruction for decades. we might still be fighting insurgencies. there are still insurgencies in the russian caucasus. those long
term insurgencies could have destroyed this country. yes, we ay the price. we pay the price with the ku klux klan, but at with the ku klux klan, but at least we did not pay a worse price. we could have. we could be at war, we could be at each other's throats even today. t.s. eliot once said there are some civil wars which never end. i remember reading a few years ago a book by david reefe, a journalist and bosnia - in bosnia during the 1990's. he was interviewing a bosnian leader and as he was leaving, one of the staff members of this bosnian leaders slipped a
piece of paper into his hands. when he left, he opened it up. one thing was written, 1358. this was the battle -- here are people and the 1990's who believe they are still fighting a civil war from 600 years efore. could we be doing the same today? quite possibly. we did things wrong in reconstruction, but there were at least some things we did right. >> author of the new book, "reconstruction and a new history." i know there are questions out there and we are going to ransition. >> if you have a question, please stepped to the microphone and dr.gelso will be happy to answer questions. > part of the problem, the
average person will not know what you were talking about or hat they were experienced. >> i see the tulane university shirt, i am putting two and two ogether. >> the conflict is where the power was not a numerator to in the constitution to the states or to the people. when you are proposing these interventions, ou are in conflict with that and they did not throw that out. what lincoln wanted to do was reserve the constitution and try to get back to some form of constitutional government. you cannot have that in a tyranny.
some of these reconstruction try to get back to some form of problems were. people still were resentful. i read your book, believe it or not, i left another one up there in case you want to peruse it. >> i see that. >> which my family dealt with like the battle of colfax. that is louisiana. >> born and raised there, i know louisiana. hat is louisiana. >> let me speak to this matter of what lincoln wanted to do. we often think of lincoln is a great reconciler and he was, but he also had a stiff back of principle. people talk about lincoln as a pragmatist, and i am a little on comfortable with that because being a student of philosophy in american
philosophy, i know a pragmatism actually means as a technical definition. he was not bad. a very practical politician, but not a pragmatist. he believed he fundamental root of american identity lay in the declaration of independence. and what it says. he made a comment as part of his campaign against stephen douglas from illinois for the senate. he said about half of the people of our country today are people rom someplace else. they are people from germany, france, people from germany, france, candinavia, what have you. they are not descended from the american revolutionaries, and they do not know much about the american revolutionaries, they only read about the american revolution. they are not descended from the lincoln said, when they look
into the declaration of independence, and when they read there that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then, lincoln said, they feel they are flesh of the flesh and blood of the blood of those old the pursuit of happiness, then, men who wrote the declaration. he believed that principle was a nonnegotiable one and that the declaration and the constitution acted together as what he described as being apples of gold in pictures of silver. he did not take the constitution and try to set it against the declaration. the two work together. so what is the goal of the constitution? two work together. so what is it is to realize the kind of world that the declaration is escribing. a world in which we
understand that we are all created equal that we all possess natural rights, and that the ideal form of government is that which gives us the fullest, and the understand that we are all fairest, and the greatest opportunity to exercise those rights. that was his guiding tar with the constitution. when the southern states attempted to secede, what they when the southern states were saying was, lincoln is right, that is what the constitution promises. it promises what the declaration promises and we are getting ut. we are going to go right another constitution. -- write another constitution. i was asked did i think that reconstruction was a second american founding. i said, no. the people who were trying to pull off a second american founding were the confederates. they were trying to re-found the nation on an entirely
different basis on the basis of ace and blood. we have seen from our perspective, 150 years later, what carnage has been inflicted on the human race by regimes that appeal to solidarity of race and blood. that appeal to solidarity of race and blood. we have seen that. we, as americans, and lincoln in particular, calls to us to understand our constitution and declaration. as appealing -- and appealing to something more foundational -- to the identity and the rights that we have that we are created with. enjoying those rights, that is the purpose our constitution service. the moment we swerve from that and tried to create or writ e the purposes of one race, or one blood, or one eligion -- we have for -- we have betrayed our identity as americans. lincoln saw that --
lincoln saw the civil war as the great test of whether a nation that dared to rest its foundation on the quality of all human beings could survive. remember what he says that gettysburg, the place down the road. he says, this nation is conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition about all men created equal. what are we doing at gettysburg? this has been the place where we are testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived or dedicated can long endure. is that any allusion? is that something we dreamt in philadelphia in 1776? this civil war is the test of that. we came through that test. we emonstrated in blood, we
demonstrated that in fact, this dedication to this proposition really does work. you can build a nation upon it in that nation can live. the 14th amendment and the 15th amendment and the life we have lived out of the constitution sense, every day that we live out that promise is a justification of what lincoln was saying. lincoln, yes. he was a very practical man but a man of great ideals. n flexible, on bendable -- nflexible, unbendable ideas. would we get that everyone of
say the same thing today. >> we need to move on to the next question. >> i have a question. as a historian, you see around us people with their own versions of history. what do you think from a standpoint of reconstruction as a people, as nation where we are obligated to remember about reconstruction, and what should we not forget at our peril? to remember about >> i say this one major, major lesson. do not be too quick. reconstruction as its conventionally described occupied 12 years of the nation possible i from 1865 to 1877. looking back on it, one lesson we ought to get was that was too short of a frame of reference. the civil war tore too deeply. the slavery controversy tore too deeply into the guts of the nation. we were too fast, too quick. maybe too optimistic. part of that arises out of the fact that we had no templates. we were
improvising. one thing we can look back and see is, we were too quick. we needed more patients, we needed more resources, we needed to be stronger, we needed to be more insistent in enforcing statues and amendments and we were not. americans are in an -- an impatient people. in some respects, that is a strength of s as a people. it also means hat we sometimes neglect
things. at the end of the first world war, we cooperated with our french and british allies and an occupation of germany that lasted exactly 18 months. big mistake. after that, we could not wait to get home and leave whatever was going to happen in germany to happen on its own. it did happen on its own and the results were all bad. the kind of future that ould have promised peace for europe after 1918 would have required a lot of application, a lot of patience, a lot of occupation, a lot of time. how do we learn the lesson for the second world war? we extended occupation regimes in germany and in japan. that s how i came to be born in japan. my father was u.s. army. japan. my father was u.s. army. there i am, part of the ccupation. we put time and
effort in it. we put the arshall plan to work. we put the resources into making reconstructions excess all. -- successful. have we learned that permanently? o. go look at iraq and afghanistan? the result, not happy. reconstruction is a long and difficult work. we should have learned that. we did not. i am not convinced we have learned it yet. things like this take a long time. politics takes a long time. political change six a long time. -- political change takes a long time. by being impatient, sometimes we get to futures we egret.
>> constitution, twice, article one, section 8 says that rebellions will be put in by the union. why did the civil war go on so long? and the declaration of independence, it says that all men are created equal. ere they really referring to white women, indians, and their property or slaves and black people. >> people have always raise the question, who was intended by this declaration that all men are created equal? stephen a. douglas believed he knew the answer and he said so in 1858. he said, the all men who were created equal in the declaration were white, male, europeans of english the set. eally what the -- of english
the -- english descent. all the -- english descent. all white males of english the -- descendents are created equal. lincoln objected. he said, that white women, indians, and their is not what it says. we sometimes talk about equality n terms of height. i am 64 inches. i do not -- i am six feet four inches. i do not think you are. >> i am 5'11" inches and a quarter. >> that means you are much more impressive person. >> we are not equal. because i am six feet four inches and you are not. but what kind of equality is that? does that matter any thing? you might say, it would matter a lot on the basketball courts. but that was not the equality
being spoken about. t was the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. lincoln says, the black man and the white man may not be equal n every respect such as height or intellectual ability, some are smarter than others, some have higher iq than others, they are not equal, but in one respect in which everyone is equal and that is the position of their natural rights. lincoln said, and the right of the black man to eat the bread which she earns by the sweat of the black man to eat the bread which she earns by the sweat of his brow, he is equal to every living man. in 1858, that was out on a limb in front of the audience's lincoln had to talk to in illinois. he would go on and add, as far as he's concerned, that covers
the earth. he wants me to comment early in his political career talking about the extension of the vote. he said, i go for xtending the vote to all who pay taxes, including women. now, mind you, it is the first and last time he talks about the votes for women because logically that is where things are. equality is a logical pay taxes, including women. conclusion. stephen douglas resley lincoln on this. -- pressed lincoln on this. he said you were talking about public rights, you are not talking about juries or giving testimonies in court, but you know something, if you grant a fundamental premise about all men are created equal in the natural rights, you're going to have to enfranchise blacks people and you're going to have lack people and white people
getting married, and you are going to have all kinds of things, and is going to be black and white quality all getting married, and you are over the place. douglas said that the confident that in saying that, he was going to be turning the audiences against lincoln. the thing is that ouglas was right. take lincoln's starting point and rights, the line that separates natural rights from civil rights or social rights is a very poorest one. -- a very porous one. people are going to start pressing through all of that and stephen a douglas saw he future. it was a future that lincoln believed had to come because it was going to be lincoln's starting point and there will be in fact no place to stop. when you start talking about the quality of natural
based on what the declaration of independence said. all of those things were going to come. would they come right away? no. but what you read in the good book, beit means we aspire more and more towards that kind of piritual perfection. this is what we are doing as a people. our government, our people, e're an experiment, he said. that is a were george washington used too. we are an xperiment. we are boldly going where people have never gone efore politically. we are on the voyage of the quality. we are finding out what that the quality means. do we realize it all at once, no, but we are headed in that direction.
douglas saw were lincoln was going and the civil war took is a good long ways going there. >> hi, you mentioned the presence of a literal guerilla insurgence, the confederate oldiers and robert e. lee. what did persist with a cultural insurgence. i'm curious how reconstruction policies, or what manner reconstruction could have done with this lost cause that was so persistent, in many people's pinion, the source of this ideology that persists today in some places. thank you. allen: many people in reconstruction did fight that deology. it is extraordinary to read what union veterans have to say after the war. some union veterans willing to go to blue and great reunion to shake hands.
we don't often the attention to what they say after they say can't. they say yes, you were a bunch f traitorous rebels. and, there are places after places after places in which union veterans make it very ear that while they want peace and reconciliation, they are certainly never going to concede to the lost cause, to the idea that somehow the confederacy was fighting for something that was right and noble and true. no, they bitterly opposed hat. at one union army veterans meeting after another, in one book after another, in one memoir after another. ulysses grant in his memoirs would speak of the confederate and say never did better men serve a worse cause.
in that one sentence, he was able to pay tribute to individuals, but at the same time condemning out of hand the evil of the cause that they had served. certainly, grant, who was extremely vigorous in uppressing the ku klux klan in south carolina in 1870 and 1871, new what he was talking about. the word treason does not sit easily in people's mouths, even today. it is an ugly word to use. but, i don't have a better one to use in describing what happened in the civil war or describing the confederate cause. i have to call it that because that is how it was. how does the constitution defined treason? levying the war against the united states, giving aid and comfort to its enemies. surely, that was being done in the civil war. there were people who after the
war, maintained their fidelity o that good old cause. what did happen though after the turn-of-the-century, as the veterans began to die off one by one, was you had academic historians, those of the dunning school of columbia, who very deliberately and with the propagandist view in mind created an alternative view of the confederacy and reconstruction, especially econstruction. at the dunning school, it is largely responsible for the view of reconstruction that rerds its some alien disposition by northerners out to get innocent southerners. because the dunning school was a school of academic interpretation, that is what reprobated itself in college faculty after college faculty, history department after
history department which percolates down into school systems and gets taught in schools. that would not begin to change until the 1950's and the era of ivil rights. i think that the time for the lost cause has long since expi my grandmother used to tell me stories of how she was a girl at school in philadelphia, every memorial day, old union veterans would come. members of the grand army of the republic with her blue caps and jackets would come and talk to the children in those classes about what they had gone through. they didn't do it just to tell war stories. the grand army of the republic set up those school time visits as a campaign to make it clear that what had happened in the civil war was a violent attack on the life of the nation and the principles of the constitution.
she learned that. she wasn't taken in by the lost cause. he handed that on to me. the lost cause was a brief bubble of bad interpretation. i think what we have gotten back to, and i hope that reconstruction and history contributes to that, is understanding that reconstruction is a noble effort. it was an attempt to put into place in the defeated confederacy the principles that should have guided the south before it took its off-ramp nto oligarchy earlier in the 19th century. it was a noble experiment. instead of being ashamed of it, 19th century. should take pride in. perhaps what we should bow our heads over reconstruction is they're elements in it we not that it was so harsh and so severe, but that we did not implement it rigorously and
vigorously enough. >> could we get a round of pplause? thank you. allen: thank you very much. thank you, scott. [applause] ♪ >> this weekend on reel america, on american history tv. e 88 u.s.-moscow summit between president reagan and soviet leader gorbachev. >> the way to democracy is a complicated way and sometimes trying. but it is a good way and we believe the best way. and once again mr. general secretary i want to extend to you and to all those who labored so hard for this moment my warmest personal thanks. >> watch reel america today at 4:00 p.m. eastern on american
istory tv on c-span 3. >> we serve so many areas, 35% of our customers don't have access to a traditional cable provider. so in many instances we're the only provider in those areas. we work very closely with the federal government, the f.c.c. on programs that make partnership investments with private sector companies through the federal universal service program to bring broadband to customers who didn't have it or have adequate broad brand. bring them more rich broadband in the future.
>> i think it's important that as the administration, f.c.c., congress conversation infrastructure like the proceedings and other concepts, that broadband is and has been determined to be a matter of important infrastructure to our country and national policy. that's a change because typically we think of infrastructure as roads, bridges, railways. which are all very important and need to be helped gu you cannot survive today, as a business, individual, someone working from home in our economy without having a robust broad comband experience. >> u.s. army dennis haines talked about his experience in the vietnam war.
also remembers on the sold in which he loved his close friend. this is in an interview conducted by the witness to war foundation. it is about 90 minutes. >> this is tom beatty and witnessed to war command i am here with dennis haines, from the 199th light infantry brigade. dennis, where are you from, first of all? >> i am from pennsylvania. he grew up just north of hershey, went to hershey high school. >> how did you end up joining the army? >> it wasn't by choice, i was drafted. i had options. some guys had signed up for the pre-sign up to enlist, because we knew we were probably close to go in, as soon as he graduated. i didn't want to do two years, or three years, or four years.